Designing an email flyer
May 1, 2006 8:31 PM   Subscribe

My dad has written and illustrated a comic book and needs to send an email flyer to as many comic book stores as possible in the next two weeks.

We have a master list to go from. I'm not sure what is the most efficient way of harvesting those email addresses are, but I'll bet it's nothing more than copy+paste grunt work, right? Correct me if I'm wrong. But what's got me is how the email flyer should be presented... my dad wants it in html with images, but I'm not sure how that can be achieved without it being annoying for the recipient. Are there any rules/guidelines/how-to's on how to construct visually appealing emails?
posted by rinkjustice to Computers & Internet (16 answers total)
Might I suggest contacting a few local comic outlets for their input? Most importantly, discover how your dad can differentiate his e-mail from the spam that surely deluges most comic shops.
posted by SPrintF at 8:47 PM on May 1, 2006

Sorry for the first comment derail, but is your dad Richard Comely? Is Captain Canuck coming back?

To be honest, when I first read your post, my reaction was negative because your email might be perceived as spam if it's unsolicited. Would he be better served sending press releases to the various comic book news sites?
posted by MegoSteve at 8:48 PM on May 1, 2006

Response by poster: Two insightful comments to start it off. Thank you.

MegoSteve: Yes and yes :)

Regarding the perception of spam issue, I have to admit that crossed my mind, but the comic book stores are businesses that need to be communicated to somehow, and many of these retailers have already dealt with my dad at one time or another. Yes, press releases are likely part of the publicity "machinations", but a nice looking email flyer would be a more direct approach and may encourage the retailers to make their orders in time.
posted by rinkjustice at 9:09 PM on May 1, 2006

No way! I just dug through my meager collection and pulled out (The First Fantastic Issue! of) Captain Canuck, July 75. Will your dad be doing any signings?

I'm sorry for the derail as well. This is too cool.
posted by Evstar at 9:17 PM on May 1, 2006

I think that HTML with embedded image files is likely to be tagged as spam. Those HTML tags have extremely high spam scores in my Bayesian filter now.

A simple JPG attachment is less likely to be dumped unread in the bit bucket, I would think.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:22 PM on May 1, 2006

Wow, I'm looking forward to Captain Canuck's return. I remember buying your dad's comics off the newsstand here in Pennsylvania back in the early 1980s. I bet he was excited when they made that Captain Canuck postage stamp a few years ago.

Re: your question: I think you could go about it a couple of ways; either send an HTML email or send an email with an attached JPEG of a flyer. Frankly, I don't have any experience sending HTML email, but I'd start by looking at HTML emails you've received... take a look at their code, and also take the time to look at the emails in plain text as well as HTML. Kind of like how I learned to do HTML by viewing the source of web pages back in 1995.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:32 PM on May 1, 2006

Response by poster: Evstar: I'm not sure what my dad's agenda is, but if it's important to you I'm sure we can make it happen :)

MegoSteve: He sure was excited. Roots clothing line also did a tribute to Captain Canuck which was very cool, but I think the postage stamp meant more to him and our family than anything else.

But I digress. I value my Ask MetaFilter membership, so I better lay off the specifics.
posted by rinkjustice at 10:02 PM on May 1, 2006

I think text email with a jpg attachment would go over best. If the subject line says "The Return of Captain Canuck" they'll almost certainly open it. Maybe include a link to a website with more graphics and info.

I also think it would be worth your while to send out a press release to the major Canadian media organizations. They'd love a story like this for their A&E sections, and you could get a metric tonne of free publicity.
posted by teg at 10:19 PM on May 1, 2006

I think a text email with a *link* to a jpg online would be even better (plus, faster & cheaper to send). Any attachments from people I don't know get flagged.
posted by devilsbrigade at 10:36 PM on May 1, 2006

I think just sending a JPG should be fine, if they recognize the subject they're much more likely to click.

Also, one thing to watch out for is getting caught in an anti-spam blacklist. It may well be that whatever machine you send the spam from initally will get blacklisted making it impossible to send email again...
posted by delmoi at 11:49 PM on May 1, 2006

I think HTML email is an abomination.

I say set up a website, then send a text-only email with a great subject, a short, compelling, single paragraph of text (allow yourself thirty words max) and a link.

How is he going to send the emails? He should use mailing list software, not just personal email.

It seems like your dad has a ton of goodwill in these parts. I'm sure a lot of knowledgeable MeFites will be happy to help out with the website/mailing list stuff.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:05 AM on May 2, 2006

If the list's not too long, how about sending a unique email to each store? If it's not tailored to the recipient and it's unsolicited then basically it's spam as far as they're concerned. You're far more likely to get a positive response with one-to-one communication rather than a virtual flyer.

As for HTML email, well if you go for it then make sure you know what you're doing and build it well. Both Campaign Monitor and MailChimp have useful blogs, and you might want to use one of them to send out the emails to maximise delivery and give full control over the text-only alternative.
posted by malevolent at 2:06 AM on May 2, 2006

Seconding MailChimp. They have a free guide to HTML email design which covers the basics very well. This question has come up a few times before; have a look at the email+html tags.
posted by blag at 3:20 AM on May 2, 2006

If I was in your dad's shoes, I think I would try to send regular mail flyers if possible. It's hard to get people's attention with email marketing without coming off as a spammer. And I'm guessing that comic book guys appreciate print.

But if email is the tool at hand, go with a personalized message with an attached jpg of the flyer, or better yet, a link to a full press-release-style website. You have no guarantee of the recipient's ability or desire to look at an html formatted message. I know I personally don't allow images to be shown in my email messages, and am too wary of html messages to bother trying to figure out whether your message is legitimate or not. Some nice personalized text that gets them interested enough to open the flyer is your best bet to get their attention, and not annoy anyone.

To personalize the messages, look into trying a mail merge. It's a function in a word processor that will read a text file of email addresses, and any other personalized information you want to include, and send an individual message to each person. Here's a brief overview for Word, to get the idea (you have to have Outlook installed and configured to send email from Word). There is a mail merge function in most advanced word processors ( is a good free one), and there are some stand-alone programs out there you could try.
posted by team lowkey at 1:17 PM on May 2, 2006

you could also consider sending the press release to trade publications
posted by Megafly at 5:03 PM on May 2, 2006

Response by poster: All these suggestions and comments are insightful and appreciated. Thank you!
posted by rinkjustice at 5:45 PM on May 2, 2006

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